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Archive for the ‘Yemen’ Category

Whither Yemen and what about Khat???

Yemen is preparing for its first presidential elections since the downfall of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Only one man is running and that is Saleh’s Vice President, Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi. Some protesters feel they are being robbed of the achievements of their revolution. Al Jazeera‘s Hashem Ahelbarra reports from the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

Saleh’s wavering and lying has taken up a lot of time, costing the lives of many innocent Yemenis. As evidenced in Al Jazeera’s report, the people of Yemen have become quite politicized, while still adhering to traditional ways of expressing democratic demands, as illustrated by the hijabî lady stating that “The will of the people is divine inspiration”. The Yemeni independent online newswire established in 2005, YemenOnline, reports that ‘[d]ozens of people were hurt in clashes in southeast Yemen between rival demonstrators supporting and opposing Tuesday’s presidential election [, 21 February], witnesses said on Friday [, 17 February]. They said the trouble began late on Thursday when activists of the pro-secession Southern Movement, which opposes the election, threw stones and petrol bombs at a sit-in of pro-election activists in Mukalla, the capital of Hadramawt province. The activists have been campaigning for the election, which will see Vice President Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi stand as the sole candidate to replace veteran strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is standing down under a Gulf-brokered deal. Tuesday’s election follows a year of protests against Saleh’s rule, deadly unrest that erupted last January as the so-called Arab Spring swept through Tunisia and Egypt. Saleh’s departure has been the main demand of the anti-regime demonstrators in Yemen. “Armed men of the Southern Movement” attacked their sit-in, the activists said in a statement, “injuring 60 youths of the revolution, some seriously, and setting fire to four tents” in Mukalla’s Change Place, focus of the protests. Residents also reported Southern Movement protests against the election in several other Hadramawt towns late Thursday. Thousands of people have burned their electoral cards in recent weeks at the urging of the Southern Movement. Meanwhile, government forces detained 10 Al-Qaeda-linked fighters on Friday, a security source said, after an attack in a town which underscored the security challenges of next week’s presidential elections. On Wednesday [, 15 February], militants shot dead a military officer and an election official in the town of Baydah, about 130 km southeast of the capital Sanaa. The militants opened fire on a car carrying Khaled Waqaa, the leader of a brigade of the elite Republican Guard, killing him as well as the head of Baydah’s election committee, Hussein Al-Babli, his son and two soldiers. Ten people were wounded. Yemenis vote on Feb. 21 to pick a leader to replace Saleh, now in the United States for medical treatment, amid concern that violence could reduce turnout. Militant group Ansar Al-Shariah claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack but said it had targeted only the military commander in revenge for the government’s failure to fulfill its half of a deal under which militants quit a town they had seized. Militants agreed last month to pull out of Radda, about 170 km southeast of Sanaa, in exchange for the formation of a council to govern it under Islamic law and the release of several jailed comrades. The militants’ spokesman said that instead of setting up such a council, Republican Guard forces had entered the town. He warned the assassination was just a preliminary response. Saleh formally handed power to his deputy, Vice President Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi in November as part of a Gulf-brokered plan to end months of anti-government protests that paralysed the impoverished state for most of 2011. Weakened by the upheaval, Yemen’s government has lost control of swathes of the country, giving Al-Qaeda’s regional Yemen-based wing room to expand its foothold near oil shipping routes through the Red Sea’.[1]

But, whatever the turnout or outcome of the elections, it seems certain that Saleh will be replaced by Field Marshall Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi, or the right hand man will become the main man. Whether this seeming change at the top will usher in the kind of changes Yemeni protesters have clamoured for remains doubtful. On the other hand, in a country where one of the people’s main occupation is the chewing of Khat leaves, one can but wonder about crowds and their motivations. Time magazine’s Andrew Lee Butters explains in some detail that by “4 in the afternoon, most men walking the streets of Sana’a are high, or about to get high — not on any sort of manufactured narcotics, but on khat, a shrub whose young leaves contain a compound with effects similar to those of amphetamines. Khat is popular in many countries of the Arabian peninsula and the Horn of Africa, but in Yemen it’s a full-blown national addiction. As much as 90% of men and 1 in 4 women in Yemen are estimated to chew the leaves, storing a wad in one cheek as the khat slowly breaks down into the saliva and enters the bloodstream. The newcomer to Yemen’s ancient capital can’t miss the spectacle of almost an entire adult population presenting cheeks bulging with cud, leaving behind green confetti of discarded leaves and branches”.[2]

So, the question really seems to be whether the people will choose democracy or another leaf of  Khat???  Butters explains that “khat is a social lubricant on a par with coffee or alcohol in the West. Indeed, because chewing the leaf isn’t forbidden by Islam, “khat is alcohol for Muslims,” says Yahya Amma, the head merchant at the Agriculture Suq, one of the largest khat markets in the city. “You can chew it and still go to prayers.” The leaf’s energy-boosting and hunger-numbing properties help university students focus on their homework, allows underpaid laborers to work without meals and, according to local lore, offers the same help to impotent men that Westerners seek in Viagra. Evening khat ceremonies — regular salon gatherings (usually only of men) to chew and chat about matters great and small — are the country’s basic form of socializing”.[3]  But every leaf has its flipside, as Butters reminds us: “khat’s detractors say the leaf is destroying Yemen. At around $5 for a bag (the amount typically consumed by a single regular user in a day) it’s an expensive habit in a country where about 45% of the population lives below the poverty line. (Most families spend more money on khat than on food, according to government figures.) A khat-addled public is more inclined to complacency about the failings of the government, khat ceremonies reinforce the exclusion of women from power and, as is obvious to anyone finding a government office nearly empty on a weekday morning, khat is keeping the country awake well past its bedtime”.[4]  One can but wonder about the deadly demonstrations that have upset Yemen since last year . . . were they Khat-induced copy-cat attempts to walk like an Egyptian or should they be seen as serious moves to wean the people off chewing the Khat???  Either way, it seems like a certainty that Field Marshall Hadi will be assuming the post of President of Yemen coming Tuesday . . .

[1] “Violence in Yemen election protests” YemenOnline (17 Feb 2012). http://yemenonline.info/news-2886.html.

[2] Andrew Lee Butters, “Is Yemen Chewing Itself to Death?” Time (25 August 2009). http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1917685,00.html.

[3] Andrew Lee Butters, “Is Yemen Chewing Itself to Death?”.

[4] Andrew Lee Butters, “Is Yemen Chewing Itself to Death?”.

The Arab Awakening: One Year On

One year on from the beginning of the Arab revolutions which began in Tunisia and continued to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria, people continue to struggle. But analysts argue that these revolutions have been manipulated by the west especially in countries like Syria. The Arab league is also showing what many call double standards in the situation of Syria with countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar who have oppressed the free will of their people for so long and with supporting an armed revolt in Syria which has led to the death of many military personnel and civilians. With hope and skepticism intermingled, this edition of Middle East Today takes a closer look at the prospects of the people’s revolutions in the Arab world (28 Jan 2012).

And, as such, I think that this would be a good opportunity to repeat what I said last year in Hürriyet Daily News: ‘Following the breakup of the Soviet Empire, the proliferation of color revolutions throughout former Communist countries also appeared spontaneous and driven by the popular will. In hindsight, however, it has come to light that their organization and planning was funded by the West. Rather than spontaneous and popular, nowadays these “revolutions” have often been called “orchestrated.” The people of Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan were manipulated by U.S. intelligence agencies and NGOs like Freedom House and the Albert Einstein Institution to overthrow their pro-Russian leadership. So, what about the recent events in Egypt? Is the Middle East now being remade in the shadow of Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “arc of crisis”? In this context, Gene Sharp and the Albert Einstein Institution appear crucial. Sharp, also known as the “Machiavelli of nonviolence” or the “Clausewitz of nonviolent warfare,” has written a great many books on “Civilian-Based Defense” and democracy that can serve as blueprints for popular uprisings against authoritarian regimes. On the institution’s website many books, such as “From Dictatorship to Democracy,” are available for free download in many languages, including Arabic. The protestors in Tahrir Square time and again stressed the peaceful nature of their actions, only to be violently disrupted by pro-Mubarak or “pro-stability” activists on horseback and mounted on camels one day, leading to significant casualties and fatalities. But, quite apart from NGOs and their encouragements of non-violent protest in favor of regime-change more amenable to NATO and U.S. interests, WikiLeaks has revealed something altogether much more sinister. The broadcaster RT reports that the “U.S. government had been planning to topple the Egyptian president for the past three years – that’s according to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. The files show Washington had been secretly backing leading figures behind the uprising.” A cable dated Dec. 30, 2008, indicates that a leader of the April 6 Youth Movement – a Facebook-driven opposition group – informed U.S. officials that opposition groups had come up with a plan to topple Hosni Mubarak before scheduled elections in September 2011. The cables also indicate that the U.S. authorities helped an April 6 leader to attend an “Alliance of Youth Movements” summit at Columbia University in New York on Dec. 3-5, 2008. In November 2008, the U.S. government promoted this event as an occasion bringing together “Facebook, Google, YouTube, MTV, Howcast, Columbia Law School and the U.S. Department of State . . . to Find Best Ways to Use Digital Media to Promote Freedom and Justice, Counter Violence, Extremism and Oppression.” The participating youth leaders were expected to “produce a field manual for youth empowerment,” adding that this document “will stand in stark contrast to the al-Qaeda manual on the basics of terrorism, found by Coalition Forces in Iraq.” Matthew Waxman, a Columbia associate professor of law, said: “We at Columbia are excited about helping, designing, and studying innovative public-private partnerships that leverage new technologies to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges. This summit is a great opportunity to do this.” In this way, using fashionable buzzwords and jargon, Dr. Waxman tacitly provided academic credibility to this summit so clearly aimed at furthering America’s cause across the world. The summit was also attended by such luminaries as Whoopi Goldberg, actress and host of ABC’s “The View,” Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook and James K. Glassman, undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, U.S. Department of State’.

(1) C. Erimtan, “Behind the scenes of Egypt’s revolution” Hürriyet Daily News (27 February 2011).

Another Targeted Assassination: Anwar al-Awlaki

One of the world’s most wanted terrorists, U.S. born al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed, according to U.S. officials. The official says an air strike targeted his convoy in eastern Yemen (30 Sept. 2011).


‘Born in New Mexico in 1971, al-Awlaki was a U.S. citizen. He graduated in civil engineering from Colorado State University and was awarded a master’s degree in educational leadership from San Diego State University. Al-Awlaki’s family is well-known in Yemen. His father is a former agriculture minister, Nasser al-Awlaki. The terrorist was a former imam of mosques in Denver, San Diego and Falls Church, Virginia. Two of those mosques were attended by some of the September 11, 2001, hijackers. In 2004 he travelled to Yemen, where he taught at a university before he was arrested and imprisoned in 2006 for suspected links to al Qaeda and involvement in attacks. In December 2007 he was released because he said he had repented, a Yemeni security official said. But he was later charged again on similar counts and went into hiding. Last year the U.S. administration authorised operations to capture or kill al-Awlaki. ‘Al-Awlaki is a proven threat,’ said a U.S. official at the time. ‘He’s being targeted’.[1]  Now the target has been hit. The eminent Middle East expert Professor Cole remarks that the “[U.S.] government should only be allowed to imprison or kill American citizens within the framework of the constitution and of US statutes. The problem with the assassination of al-`Awlaqi is that it was lawless. If the president is allowed to act lawlessly, he is not a president but a king. We are taken back to the medieval age, with star chambers, bills of attainder, outlaws, and no habeas corpus or due process. Those bastions of arbitrariness were highly objectionable to the founding generation of Americans and the point of the US constitution was to abolish them in favor of a rule of law. If we surrender the latter, we may as well just all strap on swords and descend into barbarism. Or perhaps we already have. Ironically, it is a professor of constitutional law who has been the loudest and most effective advocate for a return to the law of the jungle”.[2]  Another monster has been destroyed, and arguably another monster will now have enter the scene to take Awlaki’s place . . .


[1] “’The all-American boy with a fondness for prostitutes': Al Qaeda leader born in U.S. linked to 9/11 hijackers and known as ‘Public Enemy No 1′ is killed in Yemen” The Mail (30 September 2011). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2043772/US-born-Al-Qaeda-leader-Anwar-al-Awlaki-linked-9-11-hijackers-killed-Yemen.html?ito=feeds-newsxml.

[2] Juan Cole, “Al-`Awlaqi Should have been Tried in Absentia” Informed Comment (01 October 2011). http://www.juancole.com/2011/10/al-awlaqi-should-have-been-tried-in-absentia.html.

Yemen: Saleh Returns

I heard the news this morning on Press TV, and here is the Associated Press’ version: ‘Yemen’s president called for a cease-fire Friday, after a surprise return home to his country from Saudi Arabia. Ali Abdullah Saleh urged talks to end clashes that have claimed hundreds of lives since street protests began in February. (23 Sept. 2011)’.



Pseudo-Ottoman Overtures: Turkey as Champion of the Third World

Turkey hosted the UN developing nations conference last May. Leaders from the worlds’ Least Developed Countries gathered . . . in Turkey, with the objective of helping millions live more abundant lives. Participants agreed on a ten-year development plan that would reduce by half the current 48 countries where the annual income is less than US$745 per person. Toward this goal, developed countries are being asked to grant total debt relief as well as to curb military spending, to fund peaceful development endeavours instead (May 2011).

In a solemn voice, Turkish President Abdullah Gül stated: “I declare open the 4th United Nations conference on the least developed countries”.[1]  Last year, I coined the phrase pseudo-Ottoman to describe Turkey’s new, self-confident posture on the world stage and it seems that hosting this event in Istanbul was more than just a fortuitous act. Dr. Abdiweli Ali, deputy prime minister of Somalia, expressed Turkey’s not-so hidden agenda behind hosting this event: “Least developed countries need a guide, a mentor, a patron that speaks on their behalf. Turkey is taking that role”.[2]  In my piece, I declared rather boldly: “Rather than attempting to establish Turkish hegemony in the region, Davutoğlu’s pseudo-Ottoman foreign policy aims at integrating the erstwhile Ottoman hinterland into the mainstream of Turkish politics today. Turkey’s foreign minister is trying to shine a light on regions and areas previously located in the darkness beyond Turkish recognition and comprehension”.[3]  Turkey’s desire to become the third world’s champion is clearly something completely new and totally beyond the experience of Turkish movers and shakers of yesteryear. Dr. Abdiweli Ali was not shy about expressing his enthusiasm for Turkey’s new station in the world: “I am a great admirer of Turkey and [an] admirer of Ottoman civilization. Turkey is strategically located between South and the North, between Asia and Europe. We think Turkey lays a service to fill that gap”.[4]

Last year, Turkey appeared to be at the forefront of countries sending aid to flood-stricken Pakistan: ‘18 million Turkish liras (TL) has been collected in bank accounts within the scope of an aid campaign aiming at helping flood-hit Pakistan, doubling the previous number, [the] Prime Ministry said on Wednesday [25 August 2010]. A statement by Natural Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate of [the] Prime Ministry said that as of Wednesday, 15.8 million TL, 474,491 U.S. dollars and 667,547 euros have been collected in three separate bank accounts opened within the scope of a circular signed by the Turkish prime minister’.[5]  By late September 2010, Turkish donations to Pakistan had reached a staggering 183.9 million Turkish Liras, in addition to ‘244 tons of relief support that included vaccines, medicine, medical stuff’.[6]  At the moment, the drought in east Africa is another issue that occupies Turkey’s leadership: ‘Donations have reached 40 million Turkish Lira (nearly $22.5 million) in [an] aid campaign launched by Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs [or Diyanet] to help African people suffering from severe shortage of food and water’.[7]  As such, this crisis has provided Turkey’s Directorate for Religious Affairs (Diyanet) with an incredible opportunity to improve its image at home as well as abroad.  The Diyanet official Zeki Sayar said that “donations have so far reached 40 million TL in the aid campaign launched by our directorate, the Turkish Religious Foundation [Diyanet Vakfı] and the Turkish relief agency Red Crescent [Kızılay] to help dr[o]ught-hit African nations. Our target is to reach 100 million TL by the end of the Ramadan Feast [, 29 August 2011]. Africa lives through the worst [drought] of the last six decades. Millions of people face death because of famine. Our people rushed to African people’s assistance. Muslim people’s holy month of Ramadan has a great impact on the aid campaign. Ramadan is the month of solidarity among people”.[8]

And in an effort to show the world that Turkey means business, the Prime Minister and his wily Foreign Minister are planning to go to Somalia in person. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave a speech on Wednesday, 10 August: “We will [be] prepared to help in Somalia [even] if we were the only ones helping the famine victims”. At the speech for his party, the AKP, ‘Erdoğan said he was going to visit Somalia with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, also accompanied by their families throughout the visit’.[9]  Turkey’s pseudo-Ottoman leadership will be going on a family outing to witness first-hand how Turkish benevolence is saving lives in the face of deadly famine and disease killing indiscriminately. The pro-government English-language Turkish daily Today’s Zaman adds that the ‘Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA) Chairman Serdar Çam has announced plans to open a new coordination office in Somalia, while he noted [that] Turkey was poised to help further by [aiding] Somalia become a stronger player in the fields of international trade, the economy, agriculture and industry. As the first humanitarian aid gathered by the combined efforts of TİKA, other government institutions and private enterprise landed earlier this week in famine-stricken Somalia [as well], Çam and aid teams led by Turkish Red Crescent Society (Kızılay) General Manager Ömer Taşlı visited refugee camps on Tuesday [, 9 August] to deliver aid packages to the Somalis, the Anatolia news agency reported . . . Çam said that the people of Somalia needed peace and comfort before the state can reach all its citizens and take care of their needs’.[10]  Çam even told the Anatolia news agency that “[a]s a society that feels deeply for the pain Somalis are going through, particularly in this holy month of Ramadan, we [, as representatives of the Republic of Turkey] are here to deliver food aid to the country and make sure it reaches people even in the farthest corners of the land”.[11]

Last year’s disaster in Pakistan somehow managed to stay off the world’s television screens, as floods are slow disasters that gradually rise up and cause destruction and mayhem in slow-motion. But, famine, on the other hand, appears like much more a media-friendly calamity, offering the opportunity to beam horrendous pictures of starving mothers and babies across the world, with a glimmer of hope in the background in the shape of Turkish Red Crescent flag perhaps???  In early August, the President of the Turkish Kızılay (The Red Crescent) Tekin Küçükali stated publicly that Turkey would send ships and planes carrying aid to Somalia.[12]

And on top of all that pseudo-Ottoman effort to bring relief to the starving Muslim nation of Somalia, ‘at Turkey’s instigation’, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) convened an emergency session ‘to discuss the crisis in Somalia, [which] has ended with the agreement of the 57 member countries on concrete steps for action to help the famine-stricken country’.[13]  The OIC released a final statement on Wednesday, 17 August, which read that “we have decided to form a task force composed of  Kazakhstan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and the OIC Secretariat-General”, “In order to closely follow the situation in the horn of Africa, particularly in Somalia, and to take measures as necessary”.[14]

Turkey’s efforts to persuade Syrian President Assad to halt his bloody crackdown on protestors and other hapless civilians has not yielded a lot of success. The European news broadcaster EuroNews reported on Thursday, 18 August, that Assad declared he had terminated his campaign . . . but the reality on the ground in Syria is still very far from clear. An Adjunct Professor, American University’s School of International Service Dr. Josef Olmert summarised that “Bashar Assad promised the UN General Secretary just yesterday [Wednesday, 17 August] that his security forces are out of the main cities of Syria. Hours later more Syrian civilians were murdered by “their” army. The same happened after the visit of Turkey’s Foreign Minister in Damascus. Bashar promised to have the army out of Hama, but in reality the massacre continued unabated”.[15]  Maybe concentrating on Somalia will bring Turkey some much-deserved international recognition after all . . . . Over the past months Turkey has tried to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians, between Iran and the rest of the world, between Syria and Israel, and following the outbreak of the Arab Awakening, the state founded by Mustafa Kemal was quick to present itself as a future role-model for Arab nation states yearning for freedom and democracy . . . Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Syria have all continued their course without taking any account of the Turkish road to prosperity, so that the Turkish humanitarian intervention in the Horn of Africa might just prove to do the trick and turn Turkey into an international player of some importance . . . Or, will the world decide that starving Africans are not their main concern after all and lavish her attention on other, more pressing issues such as the U.S. downgrade,  the looming Euro crisis, and next year’s American elections???  Will Turkey turn out to be the “guide, [the] mentor, [the] patron” the Third World needs to get out of poverty and into prosperity???

[1] Dorian Jones, “Turkey Hosts UN Summit on World’s Least Developing Nations” VOA News (09 May 2011). http://www.voanews.com/english/news/europe/Turkey-Hosts-UN-summit-on-Worlds-Least-Developing-Nations-121527524.html.

[2] Sevil Küçükkoşum, “Turkey could be a mentor for least developed countries” Hürriyet Daily News (10 May 2011). http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=turkey-could-be-a-mentor-for-least-developed-countries-somalia-says-2011-05-10.

[3] C. Erimtan, “pseudo-Ottoman policy: Turkey’s new station in the world” Today’s Zaman (04 November 2010). http://tiny.cc/6qkki.

[4] Sevil Küçükkoşum, “Turkey could be a mentor for least developed countries”.

[5] “Turkish donations double for Pakistan aid campaign” World Bulletin (26 August 2010). http://www.worldbulletin.net/index.php?aType=haber&ArticleID=63018.

[6] “Turkish donation for Pakistan reaches $123 mln” World Bulletin (24 September 2010). http://www.worldbulletin.net/index.php?aType=haber&ArticleID=64325.

[7] “Turkish Donations for Africa reach 40 mln TL” World Bulletin (13 August 2011). http://www.worldbulletin.net/?aType=haber&ArticleID=77454.

[8] “Turkish Donations for Africa reach 40 mln TL”.

[9] “Erdoğan, Davutoğlu to visit Somalia with their families” Today’s Zaman (10 August 2011).  http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?load=detay&newsId=253380&link=253380.

[10] “Erdoğan, Davutoğlu to visit Somalia with their families”.

[11] “Erdoğan, Davutoğlu to visit Somalia with their families”.

[12] “Kızılay, Somali için yola çıkıyor” Delikan (04 August 2011). http://www.delikan.net/a/f2/kizilay-somali-icin-yola-cikiyor-16247/.

[13] “OIC meeting bears fruit, task force to be formed for Somalia” Today’s Zaman (18 August 2011). http://www.todayszaman.com/news-254202-oic-meeting-bears-fruit-task-force-to-be-formed-for-somalia.html.

[14] “OIC meeting bears fruit, task force to be formed for Somalia”.

[15] Josef Olmert, “Game Change for Syria” The Huffington Post (18 August 2011). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-josef-olmert/obama-syria-assad-_b_930528.html.

Cynthia McKinney Talks Turkey

Cynthia McKinney tells RT America that the US needs to take care of domestic issues. The financial debt debate has many wondering what is going on with the US financial situation. Many are demanding that the US stop spending on the wars and bring that revenue home to help with domestic issues. Does it make senses to spend billions of dollars on our defense when we are so close to default? Cynthia McKinney, former US Representative and target of O’ Reilly, tells us what’s really going on.

CIA Base in Yemen Imminent???

The CIA is building a secret air base in the Middle East to serve as a launching pad for armed drones to strike in Yemen. Since December 2009, U.S. strikes in Yemen have been carried out by the U.S. military with intelligence support from the CIA. Now, the spy agency is preparing to carry out drone strikes itself alongside the military campaign. The Wall Street Journal reports the CIA, in coordination with Saudi Arabia, has been ramping up its intelligence gathering efforts in Yemen in recent months to support a sustained drone campaign. We speak with Gregory Johnsen, a former Fulbright Fellow in Yemen and now a graduate student in Near Eastern studies at Princeton University.

In his Atlantic piece, the conservative writer and thinker Conor Friedersdorf casually posits that “Yemen is a small country where most of the people speak Arabic, practice Islam, and resent it when their friends or family members are killed by missiles that suddenly rain down from the sky. So safe to say that some of them are going to be mighty angry at the US later this summer when the CIA begins to conduct regular drone strikes in the country, something the spy agency hasn’t done since 2002”.[1]  As  the diligent critic of the current U.S. government that he is, Friedersdorf adds this piece of advice to his piece: “If you’ve lost count, that’s Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya and Yemen where the Obama Administration will be warring”.[2]


[1] Conor Friedersdorf, “The CIA Plans Summer Blockbusters in Yemen” The Atlantic (14 June 2011). http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/06/the-cia-plans-summer-blockbusters-in-yemen/240403/.

[2] Conor Friedersdorf, “The CIA Plans Summer Blockbusters in Yemen”.


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